Friday, December 23, 2016

Frog Legs

I remember the first time I tried frog legs at a restaurant.  This was in the early 1980's when salad bars were a big craze.  Just outside of Cincinnati, a restaurant in Mason, Ohio, had an expansive buffet of salads and appetizers that included fried frog legs.  After all these years, I cannot remember much of anything else that was on the colorful salad bar besides some delicious soups, lots of what you would expect to find at a salad bar, and then something you would not expect to find--fried frog legs. I enjoyed them with cocktail sauce.

Now you can sometimes find tempura-battered and fried frog legs at a China Buffet restaurant.Yes, it is true that they taste like chicken!

Since then, I also have tried frog legs prepared in a cajun-style recipe. Chef Emeril Lagasse's recipe available on the Food Network website calls for a simple saute of frog legs and garlic in butter with fresh tomato sauce and a blend of cajun spices.  When I tasted this, it reminded me more of crayfish than chicken. Delicious!

I am interested in trying a recipe of stir-fried frog legs (unbreaded) that is similar to dry-braised shrimp, oriental style. This style of recipe calls for stir-frying the frog legs with garlic, fresh ginger, and spring onions (sliced green tops) and serve with a squeeze of lemon and a side of white rice and sauteed green beans with mushrooms.

Another quick and easy way to prepare frog legs is to grill them a few minutes per side and serve with cocktail sauce.  To give them more flavor and to keep them from sticking to the grill, toss them in an oil and lemon marinade. Italian-style dressing or vinaigrette would work fine as a marinade.

Often you will see recipes that call for soaking the raw frog legs in milk prior to preparing for cooking.  This may be a good idea if you are catching your own frogs in the wild.  Wild-caught frogs may have a more "gamey" or fishy taste that becomes milder after soaking in and discarding the milk.

The frog legs that are available for purchase at Homer Village Market have been farm raised for restaurant use.  They have had all the skin removed, toenails clipped, are flash-frozen, individually wrapped for ease of portioning, and are ready to cook.  They are sold in a 5-pound bag or box.  They have a mild flavor similar to chicken.  Since these are "medium size" (6-8 pair per pound) rather than "large size" (4-6 pair per pound), it is not necessary to split the pair into two individual legs prior to cooking. If you prefer the larger size, these can be special-ordered with a couple of weeks' lead time (less lead time required in the summer months).

Customers planning to fry meat or seafood for dinner often ask for breading mixes similar to "Shake-n-Bake" or some of the seafood and chicken fryer mixes found in many grocery stores.  Since we are a small store, and customer preferences for these mixes are diverse, we generally do not carry the mixes.  You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry to make a flavorful mix, with just the amount of sodium you prefer.  If not, we do have the basic ingredients such as flour, crackers, cornmeal, salt, pepper, spices, milk, eggs, etc.

Here is a typical recipe for fried frog legs. This could be adapted for alligator that will be fried (especially reduce the salt).


These nearby stores have ingredients on sale!
  • 24 frog's legs, skin removed
  • 1 (4 ounce) packet saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup peanut oil for frying

1.  Rinse the frog's legs and pat dry; set aside. In a large resealable bag, combine the saltine cracker crumbs, flour, cornmeal, onion, salt and pepper. Shake to mix. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
2.  Heat the vegetable oil and peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.
3.  Dip the frog's legs into the milk and egg, then dip into the cracker mixture until evenly coated. Carefully place them in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. If the legs start to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Drain on paper towels before serving.

SOURCE:  AllRecipes website (recipe by AnimalWhiz

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Coming to an End

What a nice, long autumn we had in Ohio.  Fall weather stretched into what should have been winter months.  One reprieve after another kept many of us from "winterizing" the farmhouse and barns, and even our vehicles, at the time of year we usually complete those tasks.  Every time I thought Winter was finally here, the following week brought temperatures in the 50's or 60's again. More time to "get ready" for winter.

This week was a cold, snowy, blustery one.  Today started at less than 5 degrees and only got as high as 12 degrees.  Tonight back down to about 2 degrees.  With the wind chill factor, it's feeling like well-below zero.  Several inches of snow is frozen on the ground.

Many are hoping for a "white Christmas," but at this point we may have had the most snow we will see this month.  This weekend it will be in the 50's Saturday, then dropping back into the 20's. Welcome to Ohio!

Winter at the Homer Village Market usually brings the best prices of the year on wine.  This is the time to stock up for the holidays and beyond, because usually the prices go back up in January. While the prices fluctuate up and down throughout the year, this seems to be the most predictable time to find bargains on your favorite wine. Also this is the time we stock the most variety of "wine accessories" such as pretty wine carriers, unique openers, and stoppers as gift items.

If you are doing some shopping for the holidays, and you have a foodie on your list, you might find something at the Homer Village Market to please them.  Besides an interesting variety of pickled fruits and vegetables (relishes), we have low-sodium spice blends, sauces, vinegar, and many varieties of rice and beans.  While gifting perishables is a little bit more difficult (steaks, chops, etc.), that is where a Gift Certificate could come in handy.  We have denominations of $5, $10, $15, $20, and $50. Local honey, maple syrup, and lamb chops make nice gifts. Don't forget the alligator!

Whatever your plans, take time to enjoy the winter season!  Stop by the store to see what's new.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Are You on a Tight Budget?

There is nothing worse than facing the end of the “pay period” (whether that be the end of the month, the end of the week, or the middle of the month), and running out of funds before you have what you need. Maybe you are on a fixed income (retirement or disability) or maybe you receive funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program but it doesn’t cover your needs.  Food banks, community suppers, etc., only go so far and are not always convenient to attend. Perhaps you have a large family to feed and you are the only “breadwinner.”

Although Homer Village Market does not offer store credit or barter, we do accept SNAP (food stamps) and credit cards.  Perhaps more importantly, we often have surplus food at very reduced prices or for free for our customers in need.  Our frequent customers are often the beneficiaries of this surplus food, regardless of their true need.   We enjoy rewarding our “regular customers” with free items that they usually buy.  Plus, they are doing us a favor to help move inventory before it is too late.   If it is not selling fast enough, we would rather give it away than throw it away or feed it to farm animals!  If you are not a “regular customer” because you just cannot afford to shop often, maybe we can help.

Many customers come into the store daily, and some come once or twice a week.  These we consider our “regular customers.”  Some only visit once a month or so to pick up some fancy food, beverage, or favorite snack.  Regardless, this is not a huge population that we serve in our rural community! That’s why we really appreciate our frequent shoppers!

What do we mean by “surplus food?”  This is any food item that is not selling as fast as usual and so it is at risk of getting stale or just taking up too much room in our small space.  Often we have surplus milk, eggs, bread, cheese, lunch meat, deli salads, and other “perishable” items.

As you may know, Homer Village Market is a very small store with a lot of variety of products on the shelves and in the coolers.  When you see one or two of something on the shelf, please know that there are at least twelve more in the stockroom!  We love to have a lot of variety for customers to choose from, so that results in a lot of inventory taking up space. We like to see the inventory move and the products change often to delight our customers!

Do not deprive yourself of those “nice to have” but unnecessary snacks and staple foods. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, as many of us are, and doing most of your shopping in long lines at the big box retailers, imagine the convenience of shopping locally to grab the essentials.  You save time and gas, which is money, in the long run.

We would love for you to become a “regular customer”, shopping frequently enough to be aware of the food “specials” and giveaways, and at the same time helping to support your local store.  As they say, “use it or lose it.”  Next time you shop with us, let us know that you would like to be on the contact list to receive surplus foods and beverages.  We will keep a list of your favorites and essential needs and preferences and call when we have something you might like to have.  We really hate to throw away any food or useful products, but sometimes keeping it on hand is just too much to manage considering the small space and our desire to have enough space to keep fresh and popular items on the shelves and in the coolers and freezers. 

Usually the perishables that we have surplus most months are:      
  •  Milk, eggs, cheese, orange juice, iced tea, deli dips, fresh salsa, and salads
  •  Bread, buns, crackers, cookies, muffins, chips
  •  Produce
  •  sandwiches, sliced cheeses and sliced lunch meat, hot dogs
  •  Other dairy products (sour cream, chip dip, whipped cream, cottage cheese)           

Also, every few months we have surplus in these categories: 
  • Snacks
  • Baking supplies
  • Salad dressing and other condiments
  • Pasta and rice
  • Pet food
  • Ice cream, cookies, and candy
  • Frozen entrees, frozen meat and cheese, frozen bread

Infrequently, we also have “closeouts” on various brands of soft drinks and also beer and wine overstocks. Occasionally, we even have some “special order” tobacco brand that needs to go.

The more often you visit the store, the more likely you will be the recipient of such “closeouts” and “price reduced for clearance”.  But please don’t go hungry, even if you are not a frequent shopper.  Please stop by and let us know you would like to be considered for food clearances and giveaways.  Leave your phone number, and we will call you with offers.  We will be doing each other a favor!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Where Did the Summer Go?

This July 2016 was the ten-year anniversary of the Homer Village Market opening for business! A lot of changes have taken place at the store over the years with perhaps the most significant being obtaining beer and wine carryout licenses to sell beer and wine starting in 2014. Other recent changes include offering propane tank exchange beginning 2015 and removing the iconic Pepsi vending machine from the store front in the Spring of 2016 due to a spike in vandalism over the past two years.

Many new families have moved into Homer in the past year or two, and the changing demographics in the area have led to changes in the types of products offered in the store. Less prepared foods are offered and more ingredients are on hand. Refrigeration space is at a high premium for cold beer storage, so less cold food is available than before. Challenged by the small size of the store, we are constantly replenishing the coolers and shelves throughout the day from the nearby stockroom.

In July, the store hours were changed to give the sole proprietor, Jean, more time to take care of non-store business and family matters that had been neglected due to the hectic pace of operating the store over the past ten years and implementing recent changes in products.  Many customers were disappointed to find the store not open as early as before, but many others were pleased to find the store open a little later and also on Mondays.

The store has been closed on Sunday since early July, but plans are to operate on Sundays again very soon when the expanded hours are re-established for Fall and Winter.  After all, the voters of this Township indicated they wanted to be able to buy beer on Sundays. Being closed on that day has been nice for the owner, but not so nice for the customers who enjoy shopping on the weekends!

This summer also marked the 200-year celebration of the existence of Homer, Ohio.  The Homer Library organized and coordinated a very nice celebration this past weekend on Saturday, September 17. Many weeks of preparation resulted in some fascinating exhibits of historical information including old photographs and other documents important to the local area. Markers were placed around the community to designate the original locations of historic homesteads and businesses as well as markers at the gravestones of early settlers and noteworthy individuals laid to rest in the Homer Cemetery. Local historians gave speeches about the people and places of long ago in Homer.

There was even a little parade. The local churches and the firehouses offered refreshments and entertainment for the community. A good time was had by all. More information is available on the Homer Library website and facebook page as well as inside the library.  Local news articles are available online. Of special interest were some articles about Victoria Woodhull, born in Homer, the first woman to run for the office of U.S. President.

We hope everyone is having a great Summer and enjoying all the beautiful countryside as we approach pumpkin season!  We have had a bit of a drought this past summer and some very hot and humid days.  As much as we hate to see an end to the season, Fall temperatures are a bit more pleasant for football and other outdoor sports and recreation!

Stop by the store to see what's new.  We have a new supplier of local, raw honey, West Apiary (Paul's Bee Yards) in nearby Milford Township.  Soon we will be stocking Bullhead's Beef Jerky again, a local favorite. We have several gluten-free snacks on hand, frozen pizza imported from Italy, and plenty of wild-caught alligator for your next tailgate party.

Alaskan beer is available in Ohio as of about a month ago, and we are stocking it along with many favorite beer brands  We have lots of sweet red wines from Ohio and regional wineries as well as plenty of dry reds from California, Argentina, Italy, and Chile.  If you prefer white wine, we have a variety of whites ranging from dry to very sweet.  If you enjoy a good glass of wine, plenty of bottles are available for less than $8. Celebrating? We have some nice wines also in the $10-$24 range. Our prices are all State Minimum, and we take a lot of time to analyze the wholesale price changes to get the best price at the best time to pass along these values to our customers.

Hope to see you soon!  Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Welcome Spring!

Easter was in March this year, and what a beautiful, sunny Spring day it was!  Last week we cut the lawn for the first time this season, and this week it is sleeting, windy, and gray outside.

Lots of activities going on at our nearby farm.  There are many new lambs frolicking in the haystacks. Our friends are visiting with their horse and pony and volunteered to bottle feed an orphan lamb they named Ladybug.  A new batch of chicks are being raised and some more eggs are being incubated.

We always wanted a greenhouse at the farm in Ohio, so that is another new addition this Spring. Maybe you will find some fresh herbs and young trees for sale at Homer Village Market this year!  Perhaps we will even have enough surplus eggs to share. Be sure to check out the link to the store's website to see what's new! Also you can find us on Facebook!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Snowstorm Came and Went

We finally got substantial snow early this week.  Three days later, the snow is almost all melted.  So here are just a few pictures of the snow on Tuesday, 2/16.  This was a very heavy, wet snow weighing on the evergreen boughs.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is This Really Winter?

We are having a very mild Winter in 2015-2016 in central Ohio!  It is already February, and we have had only one snowfall that required shoveling--a rather minimal snowfall, at that!

Recently, we had temperatures in the high sixties, more like Spring.   We are getting ready for another cold week, but not any colder than normal for this season.  We have had plenty of good cookout weather, and it will be sunny and maybe as warm as the forties this weekend!

Beginning last fall, Homer Village Market began offering propane tank exchange for your backyard barbecue.  We have the lowest prices in the area!  You can exchange your empty tank for a full tank for $19.99 (plus tax) or purchase a full tank without an exchange for $49.99.  We also carry charcoal and starter fluid for grilling.

If you plan to fire up the grill this weekend, you can stop by to get any of the following.  These are great oven-baked or pan-sauteed also:

  • Lamb Chops (local, grass-fed lambs)
  • Wild-caught Louisiana alligator white-meat fillets
  • Johnsonville mild Italian sausage
  • Johnsonville smoked bratwurst
  • Wild-caught Mahi-Mahi fillets (South America)
  • Wild-caught Yellow-Fin Tuna fillets (Vietnam)
  • 12-oz. "porterhouse-style cut" pork loin chop (USA)
  • 8-oz "flatiron" pork shoulder steak (USA)
  • 8-oz Norwegian salmon fillets (farm raised in Norway)
  • 5-oz Alaskan Salmon Burger patties (wild-caught salmon)
  • 5-oz Garden Veggie Burger (Morningstar Farms)
  • Quarter-pound, natural casing, spicy, Hot Franks (Ozzie's brand)
  • All natural, Andouille Sausage (Aidell's brand)
We have some delicious cookies, cheesecake, and ice cream for dessert, and plenty of appetizers! 

Our beverage selection, besides Pepsi products, includes your favorite beer, wine, sparkling wine, or mixed beverage as well as classic, glass-bottled soft drinks:  root beer, orange cream soda, black cherry cream soda, ginger beer, and green apple soda.

Stop by for a family-size Take-n-Bake pepperoni pizza for a quick and easy meal at about half the price of a pizza delivery.  These pizzas are getting rave reviews!

Hope to see you soon!